Fresh from the American Heart Association’s High Blood Pressure Research Sessions (September 19 in Washington, D.C.) comes news about one simple way to help keep your blood pressure under control: eat yogurt.
The data on yogurt was collected as part of the world’s most famous long-term heart disease research, the Framingham Heart Study. This research has been following a large group of people in the city of Framingham, near Boston, Massachusets (USA) since 1948. The researchers are now studying the third generation of individuals in the Study. For over 72 years, various teams of researchers have been looking for patterns and factors in these people’s lives that make them more or less likely to have heart disease.
One part of the study followed 2,000 individuals over a 15-year period, and they correlated what they ate with the development of high blood pressure during the 15 years. They all started with normal blood pressure at the beginning of the study, but some developed hypertension over the years, and they tried to see what dietary factors were involved.
They found that the people who regularly ate yogurt were 31% less likely to develop high blood pressure over the 15-year period. And they didn’t have to eat much; just one cup of low-fat yogurt every three days seemed to give them the beneficial effect.
Other foods have been found to help lower the risk of high blood pressure including dark chocolate, nuts, and foods high in potassium such as apricots, salmon, tuna, and beans. (And salt is the thing to avoid if you want to help keep your pressure under control.)
Yogurt has other good properties besides helping to control your blood pressure. It is rich in calcium, protein, and is helpful for providing a feeling of satiety. Try to choose the low-fat variety and one with “active cultures” or “probiotics”.
Helping to avoid high blood pressure is one good reason to choose yogurt as a snack or a dessert. Mix in some fresh fruit and you are doing your body a favor, especially if you make yogurt a part of your diet at least every other day!
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